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Ann Surg. 2007 Dec;246(6):1075-82.

Is total parathyroidectomy the treatment of choice for hyperparathyroidism in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1?

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  • 1Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Medical SchoolFlorence, Italy.



The aim of the present report is to describe the results obtained with total parathyroidectomy (TPTX) guided by rapid intraoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) evaluation, followed by immediate parathyroid autograft with fresh tissue.


Surgery for hyperparathyroidism (HPT) in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is performed with various surgical approaches.


We report our 16-year experience of surgical treatment of 51 MEN1-HPT patients using TPTX and thymectomy. Forty-five patients underwent TPTX as the first surgical procedure, whereas for 6 patients, a parathyroid operation was the second surgical procedure. PTH intraoperative values less than 10 pg/mL, at the end of the surgery, were indicative for reimplantation of a few fragments ( approximately 7) of fresh parathyroid tissue in the brachioradial muscle of the forearm. Parathyroid autograft was performed in all patients, except 3 in whom the fourth parathyroid gland was not found.


Persistent hypoparathyroidism occurred in 13 patients (25%), with higher incidence in patients undergoing a second surgical revision for cervical recurrence than in patients submitted to the first surgery. At follow-up, 5 recurrences ( approximately 10%) in the forearm were observed after a mean time of 7 +/- 5 (M +/- SD) years. No cervical recurrence was documented. The forearm recurrence was treated with removal of 1 or 2 enlarged fragments obtaining the resolution of HPT in all but 1 case.


Based on the occurrence of complications in our experience, TPTX followed by autograft and guided by intraoperative PTH monitoring represents a better surgical option in MEN1-HPT compared with other surgical approaches.

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